Julian Barnes

The Pedant In The Kitchen

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    Marina Ilyinykhhas quoted5 years ago
    In my early thirties, when the kitchen was slowly mutating from a place of resented necessity to one of tense pleasure, I had my first attempt at Vichy carrots.
    Marina Ilyinykhhas quoted6 years ago
    Why should a word in a recipe be less important than a word in a novel? One can lead to physical indigestion, the other to mental.
    cansadadeserfelizhas quotedlast year
    When it is done, you are told to: ‘Lift the beef from the saucepan and remove the string. The meat is grey outside and not very appetizing. At this moment you may feel a little depressed.’ Isn’t that one of the most cheering and pedant-friendly lines a cook ever wrote? ‘You may feel a little depressed.’
    Zhenya Chaikahas quoted2 years ago
    It was a real porker of a book, four inches thick and 1,997 pages long.
    Zhenya Chaikahas quoted2 years ago
    think schools are largely to blame for a national lack of confidence in the kitchen. Doing away with the widespread availability of domestic science, or ‘food technology’ as it’s now sometimes laughably called, has created a nation of gastronomically illiterate adults.
    Zhenya Chaikahas quoted2 years ago
    This is where gastronomic conservatism loosens its grip and ‘carefree
    Zhenya Chaikahas quoted2 years ago
    mar­keting’, as Julian puts it, kicks in.
    selid00188has quoted3 years ago
    players. My sandwiches were sodden, falling to bits, and bright red from the paternally cut beetroot; they blushed for me as I blushed for their contriver.
    Yohanahas quoted3 years ago
    the rich are different because they have more money, so cooks whose recipes we follow are different because they no longer need the advice we so anx­iously require.
    Yohanahas quoted3 years ago
    My wrath is also frequently turned against the cookbooks on which I rely so heavily. Still, this is one area where pedantry is both understandable and important: and the self-taught, anxious, page-scowling domestic cook is about as pedantic as you can get.
    Yohanahas quoted3 years ago
    In the kitchen I am an anxious pedant. I adhere to gas marks and cooking times. I trust instruments rather than myself.
    Yohanahas quoted3 years ago
    And as with sex, politics, and religion, so with cooking; by the time I began finding out about it for myself, it was too late to ask my parents.
    Mariahas quoted4 years ago
    cooking a steak is to flip it every fifteen seconds, making thirty-two flips in all for its eight-minute cooking period,
    Sofya Averchenkovahas quoted4 years ago
    Cooking is the transformation of uncertainty (the recipe) into certainty (the dish) via fuss.
    Sofya Averchenkovahas quoted4 years ago
    We implicitly assume that those whose instructions we follow have perfected the recipe before printing it
    Sofya Averchenkovahas quoted4 years ago
    The unlovely success of supermarkets is due to many factors, but eliminating a potentially awkward social exchange is by no means a minimal one.
    Sofya Averchenkovahas quoted4 years ago
    someone airy-fairily ‘creative’ in the worst, self-applauding way
    Marina Ilyinykhhas quoted6 years ago
    The neighbour of the mother of a friend of mine (yes I know, but it happens to be true) decided to make some jam.
    Marina Ilyinykhhas quoted6 years ago
    The truth is, pedantry and non-pedantry can cut both ways. A pedant may vary from a dogged, uninquisitive, cloth-palated follower of orders to a devotee bent on doing everything absolutely right; while a non-pedant might be a simple lazy­bones or someone airy-fairily ‘creative’ in the worst, self-applauding way, or someone of justified confidence who has mastered technique and heard all the secret harmonies of the kitchen.
    Marina Ilyinykhhas quoted6 years ago
    I sometimes wish it were all different; most late-onset cooks do. If only my mother had taught me to boil and bake all those years ago . . .Apart from anything else, I wouldn’t be so pathetically needy of praise nowadays. As the front door closes on the last departing guest, I feel a habitual whine rising to my lips: ‘I overdid the lamb/beef/whatever.’ By which I mean: ‘I didn’t, did I, and if I did it doesn’t matter, does it?’ Mostly I get the contradiction I crave; occasionally a reminder of the house rule that after the age of twenty-five you aren’t allowed to blame your parents for anything. Indeed, you’re even allowed to forgive them. So, OK, Dad, those beetroot sandwiches: you know, they were fine, quite tasty, and – well – really original. I couldn’t have made them better myself.
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